WPP released their preliminary earning results today. Rather than just shovel the good news (billings up 16.6% and reported revenue up 20.9%) or the bad news (impending layoffs and a revised target margin), I thought it would be more interesting to highlight the “principal risks and uncertainties” the company foresees as we head deeper into 2009. Just take a look at the list below. It ranges from noting that the group’s revenue comes from a limited number of clients to possible judgements against WPP to the basic issues of being in an economic recession. Of course, companies often make such a list, but in this case, it’s a nice summation of what all the holding companies are currently up against. Shit. I should call JWT and tell them I’m now, very, very, very anxious, indeed.
a. The Group competes for clients in a highly competitive industry, which may reduce market share and decrease profits.
b. The Group receives a significant portion of its revenues from a limited number of large clients, and the loss of these clients could adversely impact the Group’s prospects, business, financial condition and results of operations.
c. The Group may be unable to collect balances due from any client that files for bankruptcy or becomes insolvent.
d. A reduction on client spending and a slowdown in client payments could adversely affect our working capital.
e. The Group is dependent on its employees and, like all service providers, is vulnerable to adverse consequences from the loss of key employees due to competition among providers of advertising and marketing services.
f. The Group is exposed to the risks of doing business internationally.
g. Currency exchange rate fluctuations could adversely affect the Group’s consolidated results of operations.
h. The Group may have difficulty repatriating the earnings of its subsidiaries.
i. The Group is subject to recessionary economic cycles. The global credit crisis could adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.
j. The Group may be unsuccessful in evaluating material risks involved in completed and future acquisitions.
k. The Group may be unsuccessful in integrating any acquired operations with its existing businesses.
l. Goodwill and other acquired intangible assets recorded on the Group’s balance sheet with respect to acquired companies may become impaired.
m. The Group may be subject to certain regulations that could restrict the Group’s activities.
n. Changes in tax laws or their application may adversely affect the Group’s reported results.
o. The Group may be exposed to liabilities from allegations that certain of its clients’ advertising claims may be false or misleading or that its clients’ products may be defective.
p. Civil liabilities or judgments against the Group or its directors or officers based on U.S. federal or state securities laws may not be enforceable in the U.S. or in England or in Jersey.